Worms and Trash (Day 5)

Today we attempted to recreate the experiment that a former TFB performed on host preference in Christmas tree worms. Christmas tree worms are colorful little annelids that live on the surface of corals. In that way, this was easier than the urchin experiment because they were much easier to see.  I saw another Sailor’s eye algae today during the experiment. That was the only time we spent on the reef today, so I didn’t have time to look for other algae species much.

Two Christmas Tree Worms on top of a brain coral.


Besides algae, I also got to see the molt of a Caribbean Spiny Lobster today and a Donkey Dung sea cucumber on the back reef. These are funny because they look like a donkey’s dung (or at least what I assume the dung of a donkey might look like). Tonight when we shone a dive light into the water (it was too rough for us to do a night snorkel), we saw a crocodile and a stingray, too.

A Donkey Dung sea cucumber.

For the last part of today, we collected, sorted, and weighed marine debris. It was shocking, and depressing, to me how much debris there was on Middle Caye because we are so so remote. After 30 minutes of collecting, we didn’t even make a dent in the amount of litter there was within the mangroves, let alone the amount there is in the world, Belize, or even just the amount on Middle Caye.

A large piece of marine debris that was found during our Christmas Tree Worm experiment.

We couldn’t do the night snorkel or go out to the reef crest today, so fingers remain crossed.

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